Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

May 12, 2008 11:46 ET

Red Cross Establishes Relief Pipeline Into Myanmar

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 12, 2008) - A Red Cross relief pipeline into Myanmar has been established, with 11flights having reached Yangon since Wednesday. This includes six flights carrying 35 tonnes of supplies from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies logistics hub in Kuala Lumpur.

These flights only represent the very beginning of what will be a massive logistical operation says Canadian Igor Dmitryuk, Head of the International Federation's logistics unit in Kuala Lumpur.

"This is only the start and we are working around the clock to identify every possible avenue into the country," he said. "But we can begin to feel a rhythm."

In addition, Dmitryuk's team has secured at least two flights to Yangon each day this week. By Friday, the Red Cross will have sent 17 flights, carrying a total of 130 tonnes of aid including: 20,000 mosquito nets, 2,450 tarpaulins and almost 15,000 jerry cans as well as emergency shelter supplies for 4,500 people and hygiene items for more than 600 people.

Flights are the most viable way to get aid into the devastated country as Yangon's main port has been essentially closed since two cranes collapsed at its entrance. However, the International Federation is continuing to explore other avenues for aid to compliment what is going in by air, including difficult overland routes.

The Red Cross Red Crescent aid effort to survivors of Cyclone Nargis suffered a blow early yesterday when the first aid shipment travelling by river to the disaster area sank.

The cargo ship carrying relief supplies for over 1,000 people hit a submerged tree trunk and started taking on water. The crew steered to an island but the boat sank rapidly. All crew members, including four Myanmar Red Cross relief workers on board, managed to get to safety.

The Canadian Red Cross has contributed $300,000 to the Myanmar aid efforts in cash and relief supplies.

Canadians wishing to make a financial donation may give online at www.redcross.ca, call 1-800-418-1111 or contact their local Canadian Red Cross office. The 24-hour toll free line accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "Myanmar Cyclone" and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 186 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

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